If you’d like to sell a digital product on your WordPress blog or website, or you need to build an online store to offer digital downloads from, then the Easy Digital Downloads plugin is a great choice.
By installing this free plugin on a WordPress website you can almost instantly start listing digital downloads for sale, with the ability to collect payments. If you are familiar with WordPress then you could have a product online and available for purchase within minutes, and even if you are new to WordPress, it won’t take you long to work out how to start listing digital files for sale online.
In this article you will get a good overview of what this WordPress ecommerce plugin can do in order to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your project. If it is, then the instructions below will help you to get your first product online and your store up and running in no time at all.
How to Create a Website to Sell Digital Downloads with WordPress
The Easy Digital Downloads plugin is one of the most well-regarded ecommerce tools for anyone who wants to sell digital products for download on their WordPress website.
Whether you want to build a fully functioning ecommerce store selling digital downloads, or simply add the ability to offer digital products to your blog, Easy Digital Downloads provides an easy to use solution.
Why Use Easy Digital Downloads?
As well as being free, there are plenty of good reasons to use Easy Digital Downloads. The main advantage of choosing this plugin over its competitors is that it is very easy to use. As you will see shortly, it takes very little time to get your first digital product online and available for download by your customers.
Other notable features of Easy Digital Downloads include:
- Offer single or multiple variable price points for each product
- Add multiple files to the same product package
- Easily display responsive product grids anywhere on your site
- Use shortcodes to add purchase links anywhere in your posts
- Offer discount codes
- Display either add to cart or buy now buttons for your products
- Accept payment via PayPal (or upgrade to other gateways)
- Lots of great online documentation
- Over 250 extensions
Another great reason to use Easy Digital Downloads is that it is a well-supported and well-used plugin. This means that if you ever run into any difficulty when using this plugin, there is a high chance you will find a solution online or locate someone who can help you out.
The library of add-ons available for Easy Digital Downloads is another great benefit of using this plugin. These extensions can help you add a wealth of additional features to your store that both make it easier to manage, and more attractive to your customers. While the core plugin is free, some of these add-ons are premium products. However, out of the box, Easy Digital Downloads has enough power to allow you to sell digital products online with no financial outlay.
Also, as the plugin has been well-coded, creating your own extensions for it, or finding someone who can build an add-on shouldn’t be too difficult compare to some of the other options.
How to Sell Digital Downloads With WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads
Now that you’ve been convinced of why you should use this ecommerce plugin for WordPress to sell digital downloads online, it’s time to see just how easy it is to use and how quickly you can have your first digital product online for sale.
Installing the Plugin
As the plugin is free it can be downloaded from the WordPress.org plugin directory, or installed directly from within your site’s admin dashboard. Simply go to the Plugins > Add New page and search for Easy Digital Downloads.
As you can see there are a lot of related plugins that will be displayed in the search results. However, the item we are looking for is the plugin created by Pippin Williamson, which should be the first item in the results.
Creating Your First Product
Once the plugin has been installed and activated on your site, you should be directed to the getting started page on your dashboard. If not, you can find this page by loading this URL: http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=edd-getting-started
From the getting started page you can find out about using the popular features of Easy Digital Downloads, or jump straight to the Add New Download page to create your first product. This page can also be found at Downloads > Add New from the admin sidebar menu.
For anyone familiar with WordPress, the new download creation screen should look very familiar as it very closely resembles the post editor page. Those who are new to WordPress should also be able to pick up the product creation process very quickly.
Just like regular WordPress posts, your products or downloads can have their own categories and tags. These taxonomies are separate from the ones used by your other blog content, allowing your visitors to use them to filter just your products, separately from the other content on your site.
As well as giving your download a title and adding a description using the editor, you can also set a price for your product.
If you choose to enable variable pricing, you can create multiple price points for your product, with the option of connecting each price point to a different file.
The next step in the product creation process is to upload the files that your visitors will be able to download once they’ve made a purchase.
You can upload multiple files for each product and if you have chosen variable pricing, you can assign each file to a specific price point. If you are offering multiple price points, and offering multiple files for each point, you can get quite creative with the settings to define which price point includes which files.
In the above example, all price points include the bronze download, while the gold price point also includes the silver and gold downloads.
If you want to upload multiple files for offer at a single price point, you can easily do so by uploading and selecting more than one file via the media uploader.
Easy Digital Download automatically moves any product files you upload into a protected folder on your server. This prevents them being accessed outside of the shopping cart and checkout system of your online store.
Further options on the download creation screen include setting a maximum number of downloads for the product, setting a featured image, and adding download notes which are made available to the customer after purchase.
If you’d like to add an SKU, or unique identifier for your products, you must enable this from the misc. tab on the settings page.
Once your download is ready, you can publish it to make it available to your site visitors.
Configuring the Settings for Your Store
Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to create a digital download, it’s time to delve into the settings that govern the online store functionality of this plugin. Just like product creation process, the settings are easy to make sense of while still giving you a lot of control over how your downloads are offered, without being overly complicated.
You can access the configuration options from the settings item on the Easy Digital Downloads menu. From the general tab you can set options such as managing the store pages and selecting the currency to be used when listing your products.
Through the Payment Gateway settings you can choose the methods for accepting payments. Out of the box Easy Digital Downloads only includes support for PayPal. However you can install one of the many payment gateway add-ons to increase the number of options available to you and your customers.
From the Email tab you can configure the purchase receipt email that is automatically sent out to customers when they complete an order. When creating the templates, there are a number of placeholders to make use of to give the emails a personalized appearance.
Easy Digital Downloads can also automatically send out notifications of sales to the site administrators and other designated email addresses to inform them that a sales has taken place. The new sales notifications are optional and can be turned off it not required.
Through the styles tab you can make a few simple adjustments to the appearance of the product buttons. The taxes section gives you a lot of options for setting tax rates, deciding whether to include the tax in the product price, and setting which country and state your store operates from.
The Misc tab gives you access to some more controls for determining how your store will function. This includes the ability to redirect shoppers to the checkout immediately after adding an item to their cart. This would be a good feature to enable if you only offer one item on your store, or your customers are likely to only purchase one download at a time.
You can also determine whether shoppers must be registered at your store to make a purchase, how many times they can download a file, when the download link expires, and a whole lot more.
While your store will function without you changing any of the default settings, making Easy Digital Downloads very easy to get started with, its highly recommended that you do take the time to explore the options available to you for defining how your store works.
Managing Products, Sales, and Reporting Tools
From the All Downloads page on the admin dashboard you can view and manage all the products on your site. From the list page you can view information about each item, such as the price, number of sales, earnings, and the shortcode for inserting that product or download into a post or page.
The Payment History page does what you’d expect and allows you to see all payments, and then filter them by status. They can also be filtered by date. If you are using an iOS device, you can download the Earnings and Sales tracking app for your iPhone or iPad. Android users can get a similar app from the Google Play store.
Finally you can run a range of reports on your store from the admin dashboard of your website. These reports can show your earnings, downloads, customers, payment methods, and taxes from your store.
Publishing Your Digital Downloads
After you’ve created your first digital download product, you can then make it available to your visitors. Each product can viewed on its own page, or alternatively, the product can be inserted into your posts and pages using a shortcode.
As this plugin adds a button to the WordPress post editor that allows you to easily insert download information into your posts, this is a good way to make your products available to your visitors.
A further option is to use the shortcode that lists all the available downloads on the same page in a grid layout. This shortcode can be modified to display a set number of downloads, or only items for a specific category, plus a range of other options.
Easy Digital Downloads Add-Ons
Hopefully now you’ve got a good understanding of what you can do with Easy Digital Downloads and how quickly you could be offering your digital products for sale online.
However, the core plugin only scratches the surface in terms of what else can be done with this WordPress store builder tool.
The library of over 250 in-house and third party add-ons allows you to extend the functionality of your store in a number of ways. Popular categories of add-ons include accounting, marketing, widgets, payment gateways, mobile, and social.
This should give you an idea of how you can improve and upgrade your store before or after it starts generating sales. While many of these extensions are premium items, there are free options available, and some of the premium add-ons can be purchased together in money-saving bundles.
Some useful upgrades you can make to your store with these add-ons include:
- Sell physical products with shipping details
- Collect recurring payments
- Offer purchase points and rewards
- Create an affiliate programme
- Cross-sell and upsell
- Offer volume discounts
- Recoup lost revenue from abandoned carts
If you feel there is any feature lacking from the core Easy Digital Downloads, then it’s highly likely it is available as an add-on. If you are looking for a theme for your store, there is a selection of recommended templates available on the website.
Easy Digital Downloads is a popular, well-regarded plugin and after using it for any amount of time, it’s easy to see why.
With a very fast setup time and easy to understand settings and options, you could literally get your first digital download online for sale in a matter of minutes, rather than hours.
Whether you want to build a store to sell multiple downloads, add a single product to your blog, or somewhere in between, this is the best solution for WordPress users, and probably for anyone else yet to choose a platform for their website.
If you have any questions about selling digital downloads with this plugin, or recommended add-ons for enhancing a store, please leave a comment below.